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Application over knowledge

With the vast growth of knowledge available on the Internet over the years, it has become increasingly easy to attain knowledge without hindrance even at relatively specialized levels. By taking down barricades to knowledge such as costs and access, its economic value has also been diminished however. There are certainly benefits to this, as it somewhat equilibrates opportunity for those otherwise unprivileged. However, this has simultaneously also diminished the value of being knowledgeable.

In other words, I may know a lot of different things others may not know, but if this information can be retrieved in seconds through a Google search or Wikipedia, then my knowledge has much less value. Accordingly, I believe that as more information continues to accumulate on the Internet, the ability to apply knowledge effectively and efficiently will become increasingly more important than acquiring knowledge.

Having said that, I believe that the way education is structured must change in order to better appreciate this evolution. It may be worth considering that we alter how we deliver education to ensure students learn how to acquire knowledge but also put it into practice what they learn at all levels of education. And more importantly, basing their performance not on how much information they have acquired, but how well they have applied this knowledge. Indeed, in some ways this is already done in mathematics -- for example, when students are allowed to bring a cheat-sheet to their exam with all relevant formulas. After all, is it more important to memorize a formula or understand its proper application?

To be clear however, I do not wish to belittle those with great knowledge as it still has its merits, including the ability to immediately recall information and understand its significance, I simply feel that it is just not as valuable as it may have been 20 years ago. Please share your viewpoints below, I am interested in gaining your perspective.

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